Thursday, May 26, 2011

News items and comments

Hicks was hand picked by Bin Ladin. Not your average man. He is a prize idiot
LISTENING to David Hicks' speech to the Sydney Writers' Festival last weekend, you'd think he'd been over in Afghanistan wiping the brow of AIDS sufferers and holding the hand of leprosy victims.
Agreement on boundaries for the US of 1845?
US President Barack Obama has hailed a new era of Western leadership in a rare address to UK parliament.

Not the average Democrat supporter
A JUDGE today ruled that the man accused of shooting a US lawmaker was not competent to stand trial.

The dream is there
STOPPING the spread of cancer to the brain will be a major focus for Adelaide University researchers.

The federal government might choose to fund it. Only $36 billion. They would need roof inspectors and people to remove air conditioning from schools
TECHNOLOGY that lets cars talk with one other may cut road deaths by up to a third, the Government says.

A tragic failure of gun safety
THE death of a woman shot by her husband in a bungled search for a snake was a "classic accident" but he could still face criminal negligence charges, an inquest was told.
Take pictures, please
DRIVERS caught hooning or overloading their cars will face tough new laws from July 1.

Good work
TWO men who saved an eight-month-old baby from a house fire in Bentleigh East should be nominated for bravery awards, a neighbour says.
To be fair shouldn't we all have such?
NEW mums want paid breastfeeding breaks in the workplace.

Baby boomers are so selfish ..
BABY boomers have been outed as the staff their colleagues least want to work with, even named as difficult by their own generation.
Punk kid will probably do serious time
HE stands accused of one of the state's most gruesome murders but, in court yesterday, Jason Alexander Downie acted like a typical teenager.
In sending the raw data Ken has done us a favor. Overland must go.
POLICE face a new scandal over misleading Victorians on crime statistics.

He should have given it to a builder
AN elderly widower who gave a Melbourne prostitute more than $100,000 to build a house has failed in a court bid to get her to repay the money.
She is beautiful
FIVE years after the Howard government spent $245,000 of taxpayers' money to help build a luxurious State Coach for the Queen, no government official knows where it is.
I don't believe it was chance.
A CHANCE encounter of rival bikies on a domestic flight led to a violent and fatal brawl at Sydney airport, a court has heard.

She really does represent the ALP
IT'S a dubious honour but it went to Labor's Cherie Burton, the first member of the new state parliament booted from the chamber.
Someone told him to jump?
A MAN was charged after he abandoned his car on the Sydney Harbour Bridge and allegedly jumped fences before trying to climb the bridge.
Any amount is too much
THE Greens have indicated they will accept a lower starting price on carbon tax, with deputy leader Christine Milne forecasting it will rise greatly over time.
I can't help but feel many journalists are compromised by the ALP
SENIOR Gillard government ministers are "sooks" waging an unsustainable and petty war against the media, experienced political strategists said.
I wouldn't take one
NSW consumers will be protected from unscrupulous payday loan sharks. In the election campaign the Coalition's then fair trading spokesman Greg Aplin had indicated NSW's 48 per cent maximum annual int...
Norsca fresh
COME hell or high water, Lucy Harten-Ash and her British mates were determined to get outdoors to see Sydney yesterday.
Gillard knew ..
A KEY reason behind the M4 extension's demise was that it was to run through the electorates of Anthony Albanese and Carmel Tebbutt, the Iemma government's former infrastructure boss claims.
Dobbed in by a toddler ..
PATRICK stevedores' head of industrial relations has been sidelined as lead negotiator amid an email campaign slamming him for his plot to lock out dock workers.
Unoccupied, so only property was damaged
NEIGHBOURS heard an explosion and felt a shudder moments before a Paddington house was set alight, police said yesterday.
Even if they didn't deserve it I would offer it.
BEN didn't want his prized possessions to end up on the scrap heap. They should go to his mates.

Transparent and merit based, suggests no socialists
FRENCH Finance Minister Christine Lagarde has announced she will seek the top job at the International Monetary Fund.
I am old. I don't see the need
SIMULATED sex and new levels of drug use and nudity would be allowed in video games released in Australia under draft guidelines for an R18+ rating.
Obama spends money but lacks vision
NASA says that a new spacecraft to ferry humans into deep space will be based on designs for the Orion crew exploration vehicle and built by Lockheed Martin.
If one does all will .. If it passes security tests.
GOOGLE will launch a mobile payment platform that lets people use smartphones to pay at shops as easily as they use a credit card, according to a source familiar with the matter.
So long as drunks have sex ..
THEY were branded among the state's most violent pubs. Regaining their reputations, 16 have now been removed from the list of shame.
There are enough comedians who can carry on such work
POPE Benedict XVI has shut down a famous monastery in Rome whose unorthodox practices earned the disfavour of the Vatican.
I'd condemn them
THEY are public pest number one, but finally cane toads have been exonerated from one crime.

‎30000 breaches 703 warnings. We need a digital system.
ALMOST 30,000 suspected cases of multiple voting were reported in last year's federal election but only 19 have been referred to police for investigation.
Councils are confused about their responsibilities and powers .. A legacy of the ALP
LITTLE Tyra Kuehne, mauled to death by a pack of pig-hunting dogs, would be alive today if a council had acted on complaints and declared the animals dangerous, a judge ruled yesterday.
Is he really a star?
FORMER Socceroo Ahmad Elrich was carrying two loaded guns and drugs when his motorbike was pulled over by police, a court has heard.
It is Malaysia. They are recalcitrant and not signatories to the UN refugee program. But a modern Islamic state like which many of the refugees flee.
ASYLUM seekers shipped overseas under the proposed "Malaysian Solution" face the prospect of caning if they step out of line in detention.
It is selfish to skimp on the necessaries.
GOOD things come to those who wait, so they say. But if it is a wife waiting for her husband to hang the washing or do the dishes as often as she does, she had better be patient.
Also a good way to break an unwanted ADSL contract
ONE is an online gamer who boasts the speeds will improve his World Of Warcraft performance. Another is a gun IT tech-head who works in the local computer shop.
If they could speak Vietnamese they might have heard Thi screaming at the top of her voice to a mouse "How dare you come into my shop! You will die!"
SOME cafe and restaurant owners have been caught with animals such as mangy stray cats, pet dogs and ibis in their kitchens, putting their customers at serious risk of food contamination.
Good luck
TWO weeks after learning he had been released from death row, Bali Nine heroin courier Scott Rush is in love and rumoured to be contemplating marrying his girlfriend in jail.
At last, sense reigns.
CONTROVERSIAL restrictions on fishing within two giant NSW marine parks - made by the previous Labor government in its dying days - are to be abolished.
The money is only paper .. And rock
GINA Reinhart has become the first woman to top the BRW rich list, with the iron ore magnate's fortune doubling over the past year to $10.3 billion.
As a president he is an embarrassment
By bullying Israel, a negotiated peace agreement between Arabs and Israelis is now all but impossible during President Obama’s tenure.
His dying wife forgave this creep. But then she might not have known the full depth of his corruption.
Prosecutors can seek an indictment against former North Carolina Senator and two-time Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards for allegedly using campaign donations to cover up an extra-marital affair and love child, ABC News reported late Tuesday.
Jim gets it wrong. Australia can't afford to have all its kids go public because it short changes private students.
PUBLIC schools face a funding cut of more than $300 million if current financial arrangements aren't overhauled, a new report states.
In a recent article it was said Australians spent over a hundred million dollars on unused (not needed) broadband. The ALP plans to make it $Billions, and this journalist crows 'gotcha!'
THE National Broadband Network has nothing on "laser beam" technology, says Australia's most popular talkback host Alan Jones.
This article was prescient
Piers has been one of The Daily Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph's best-read columnists since 1993. One of the nation's most respected journalists he has worked in New York, London, Washington and Los Angeles.
Liked on
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Liked on - Israel, in any future agreement with the Palestinians, has a critical need for defensible borders. This video outlines the threats to Israel from terrorist rockets, ballistic missiles, and conventional ground and air threats ...


Here’s a letter to USA Today:

Sally Kohn advises Americans to stop worrying about Uncle Sam’s gargantuan debt (“Don’t believe the hype about U.S. debt,” May 25). But her explanation for why this debt is benign – namely, that successful private businesses often have high debt-to-income ratios – is deeply flawed.

First, while private firms do regularly borrow to finance productivity-enhancing investments, the same isn’t true for government borrowing. Owners of private firms must repay their debts with their own money. Private business owners, therefore, have much stronger incentives to borrow and invest wisely than do politicians who repay whatever debts they incur by taxing other people.

Second, Ms. Kohn writes that “The United States generates approximately $14.5 trillion in GDP each year and carries, currently, $14.3 trillion in debt. That represents a debt-to-income ratio of roughly 1-to-1.” Wrong. U.S. GDP is emphatically not Uncle Sam’s income.

U.S. GDP is income earned by, and belonging to, Americans. To get hisincome, Uncle Sam annually taxes away some of this privately earned income. Uncle Sam’s income is this annual tax revenue – now about $2.2 2.4 trillion – and only this tax revenue.

Even if, contrary to fact, Uncle Sam were powerful enough to confiscate all $14.5 trillion of Americans’ incomes, it’s as illegitimate for Ms. Kohn to count Americans’ entire incomes as income belonging to Uncle Sam as it would be for me to count my neighbors’ entire incomes as income belonging to me simply because I might be powerful enough to confiscate those incomes in full.

Donald J. Boudreaux

I didn’t have room to fit the following question into the letter: If every cent of U.S. GDP is Uncle Sam’s income, what does that fact imply about the solvency of state and local governments throughout America? (There are tons of other such questions to be asked about this absurd proposition of Ms. Kohn.)

(Thanks to Mark Steckbeck for helping to update my information on Uncle Sam’s current annual revenues.)


Hicks and useful idiots

Miranda Devine – Thursday, May 26, 11 (08:45 am)

LISTENING to David Hicks’ speech to the Sydney Writers’ Festival last weekend, you’d think he’d been over in Afghanistan wiping the brow of AIDS sufferers and holding the hand of leprosy victims.

Certainly those useful idiots of the audience who gave him a standing ovation seemed to think Hicks was the Australian bloke version of Mother Theresa.

But just because some naive people think that being locked up in Guantanamo Bay and smacked around a bit was overly harsh punishment for suspected terrorists captured in Afghanistan just after September 11, 2011, that doesn’t mean they’re innocent.

We have seen from Osama bin Laden’s handwritten notes, discovered in his Abbottabad compound after he was killed last month, that the al-Qaeda leader looked for men just like Hicks to carry out his murderous attacks.

He looked for non-Arabs who would blend into local populations.

Dinky di Aussie Hicks, aka Mohammed Dawood, the Muslim convert who was also handy with a gun, made a perfect candidate.

Arabs arouse too much suspicion, wrote bin Laden in his journal, urging his senior lieutenants to time a big attack on a train in the US to mark the 10th anniversary this year of the September 11 atrocity.

He wanted them to find suggestible misfits and losers from Western countries who could be flattered and moulded into terrorists.

These young men didn’t walk around wearing devil horns. They were for the most part pathetic, like Hicks.

Bin Laden deliberately recruited weak-brained young men who would be prepared to strap a bomb to their torsos and walk into a hotel lobby and pull the pin, or who would fire directly into a crowd of strangers at a railway station.

Or even on a crowd of book lovers at a writers’ festival. Why do they think they would be immune?



Tim Blair – Thursday, May 26, 11 (11:34 am)

Eamon Kelly of Kelly’s Towing Service tells of the three-hour task that removed a stuck Presidential Cadillac:

“It was a big problem because the vehicle was not designed to be towed,” said Mr Kelly. “It’s an armour-plated vehicle so there’s a lot of weight involved in it.”

Mr Kelly, whose son Keith attended the scene, said damage to the vehicle meant it could not be lifted in the normal way by its wheels. “It was tricky job, we had to adapt our vehicle to lift it because we wouldn’t be used to lifting American stuff … the lifting points on that were slightly different to what we would have on European vehicles,” he told RTÉ Liveline programme.

Mr Kelly, who said the suspension on the vehicle had been damaged, said the vehicle had to be brought back down the ramp because to bring it up the ramp would have done more damage.

Just like ED-209, the Presidential limo doesn’t do stairs. Happily, the rest of Barack Obama’s UK visit has proceededwithout a hitch.



Tim Blair – Thursday, May 26, 11 (10:21 am)

The New York Times reports:

A federal judge on Wednesday ruled that Jared L. Loughner was not mentally competent to stand trial on charges of opening fire at a constituent event for an Arizona congresswoman in January, killing 6 and injuring 13 …

“At the present time, Mr. Loughner does not have a rational understanding of these proceedings,” Judge Burns said.

The ruling came just minutes after Mr. Loughner was dragged from the courtroom screaming.

“Thank you for the freak show,” he shouted. “She died in front of me. You’re treasonous.”

Other witnesses heard him say, “Thank you for the free shot,” and court officials were reviewing the recording to confirm.

And still others will have heard Loughner say, in a very clear voice: ”Sarah Palin made me do it.”



Tim Blair – Thursday, May 26, 11 (05:36 am)

The SMH’s Elizabeth Farrelly cheers diminished living standards:

A carbon tax that did not diminish our living standard would be futile and governments have no business promising, as Swan-Gillard rhythmically do, that petrol or electricity prices won’t rise or that big polluters won’t pay. The whole point is to impact us, and not in a good way. If it doesn’t hurt, it won’t work.

Neither will the dairy industry, now joining regional dairy farmers in opposition to the tax.


And if the tax comes in and industry limps on?

Andrew Bolt – Thursday, May 26, 11 (09:03 am)

Probably a bit OTT, and those words may be one day quoted back at him in scorn:

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has told a gathering of Australia’s manufacturers they must fight the carbon tax or their industry will die…

“It can’t be fixed, it has to be fought, and if it’s not fought, the manufacturing sector in this country, I regret to say, is almost certain to die,” he said.

“I think this is as stark as that, the choice that you face - do you fight or do you die?”


Are we really sending boat people to this?

Andrew Bolt – Thursday, May 26, 11 (07:00 am)


Australians are routinely accused of being too heartless to boat people, but I don’t think many will like sending them to Malaysia if these are indeed the conditions:

ASYLUM seekers shipped overseas under the proposed “Malaysian Solution” face the prospect of caning if they step out of line in detention.

Living conditions at refugee camps in Malaysia have also been condemned as crowded and unhygienic, with some inmates reported to have died from disease spread by rats.

According to Amnesty International, Malaysia flogs up to 6000 detainees a year, using a rattan cane that causes visible injuries and scarring…

Pressed on whether canings and the caging of pregnant women or children would be prevented, (Immigration Minister Chris) Bowen’s spokesman said negotiations were ongoing.

The photo is of the Lenggeng Immigration Camp in Malaysia. Just what guarantees Australia will get from Malaysia, I do not know. But Dennis Ignatius, Malaysia’s former High Commissioner to Britain and Ambassador to China, also warns:

Malaysia already plays reluctant host to tens of thousands of illegal immigrants and refugees. It is a well-documented fact that they endure great hardship and abuse.... All refugees are treated as illegal immigrants and are subject to arrest, detention, punishment, and deportation.

According to Amnesty International, more than 6,000 refugees are caned every year, while others have been trafficked to Thai gangs by corrupt local officials.

Given this situation, there should be genuine concerns as to the fate of those who are now going to be transferred from Australia


We’re not so easily bullied

Andrew Bolt – Thursday, May 26, 11 (06:42 am)


Despite Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese’s muffled denials to me yesterday, it seems indeed that the Gillard Government is waging a jihad against the Murdoch press:

Upset with unfavourable coverage of the $308 million set-top box program, Communications Minister Stephen Conroy took the unprecedented step of undermining journalists who work at The Daily Telegraph by threatening to publish communications between them and his office.

Journalists at The Australian were also targeted, and on three separate occasions this week Senator Conroy’s media adviser Lyall Johnson sent to all media press releases containing detailed answers to questions generated exclusively by The Australian…

A spokesman for Prime Minister Julia Gillard said the strategy applied only to The Daily Telegraph and The Australian. Political commentator and former John Howard chief of staff Grahame Morris said that the move was a “vindictive and stupid way” to treat the media.

To explain to non-journalists: the tactic here to let other media know what exclusive stories the News Ltd papers are working on.

I’ll have more to say - and more examples to give - on The Bolt Report on Sunday.

That said, this may be less about trying to intimidate the News Ltd journalists than to warn the rest, most of whom work for less resolute proprietors and managers.

(Thanks to reader Grand Wizard.)


Six words to change history

Andrew Bolt – Thursday, May 26, 11 (06:37 am)

This gets to the nub of it. From the transcript of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to US Congress on Tuesday:

The Palestinians have been unwilling to accept a Palestinian state if it meant accepting a Jewish state alongside it. ... our conflict has never been about the establishment of a Palestinian state; it’s always been about the existence of the Jewish state. ...

President Abbas must do what I have done. I stood before my people—and I told you, it wasn’t easy for me—I stood before my people and I said, “I will accept a Palestinian state.”

It’s time for President Abbas to stand before his people and say, “I will accept a Jewish state.” Those six words will change history. They’ll make it clear to the Palestinians that this conflict must come to an end; that they’re not building a Palestinian state to continue the conflict with Israel, but to end it.

(Thanks to reader Tasman.)


Costello for the IMF?

Andrew Bolt – Thursday, May 26, 11 (06:28 am)

Of the two, Peter Costello seems the more obvious candidate:

PAUL KEATING and Peter Costello are understood to be interested in a possible candidacy to succeed Dominique Strauss-Kahn as the head of the International Monetary Fund, while the Treasurer, Wayne Swan, said the appointment should be made on merit - but stopped short of advocating an Australian.

Ungracious of Swan. Terry McCrann canvasses the arguments for a non-European leader of the IMF - and the arguments against.


If Bitar works well, Labor is gone

Andrew Bolt – Thursday, May 26, 11 (06:21 am)

If Labor’s former national secretary, Karl Bitar, does his new job well he’ll bring down the Gillard Government:

THE Prime Minister has sent a strong message to James Packer and his new lobbyist Karl Bitar - Labor is not for turning on its gambling reforms…

Mr Bitar, the recently departed ALP national secretary, has been hired by Crown Ltd and will be trying to get modified or defeated the proposed move to force gamblers to put prior limits on their losses

Independent Andrew Wilkie, who has threatened to withdraw support for the government if he doesn’t get satisfactory action on gambling, will not comment on the Bitar appointment.


Stop right there

Andrew Bolt – Thursday, May 26, 11 (06:17 am)

I beg your pardon?

A CASINO chaplain says Australians are too superstitious and wrongly believe luck is on their side. Crown’s resident chaplain, Fr James Grant....


Fraser wins award for rewriting his history

Andrew Bolt – Thursday, May 26, 11 (06:02 am)

Greg Sheridan has only just started:

MALCOLM Fraser’s memoirs, co-authored with Margaret Simons, are the most error-riddled, factually unreliable, tendentious, consistently nasty and overall disgraceful political memoirs I have ever read. Naturally they won the NSW Premier’s Literary Award.

This infamous award demonstrates why the Premier’s Literary Awards should be abolished. In their nonfiction section, at least, they are not about literature but promoting ideological conformity.

You can guess which ideology. A list of the book’s errors, deceits and shameful omissions follows.


If they can’t even build a full-size court…

Andrew Bolt – Thursday, May 26, 11 (05:54 am)

Former Labor Minister Gary Johns:

AT Nundah State School, less than 400m from Wayne Swan’s office, there is a tennis court. That tennis court sums up Wayne’s World as Treasurer of Australia

There used to be a full tennis court at Nundah State School, a good little earner as the locals regularly hired the court. Then the Building the Education Revolution ... deemed that Nundah State School needed a new building. The fact the school was well provided for did not matter.

The new building was set down on the tennis court.... Well, it turns out that after building the deemed essential new building, there was insufficient room to build a new tennis court.

And so, to ensure there was a proper space between the fence and the baseline, the tennis court was built at 80 per cent the size of a tennis court. That’s right, 80 per cent. Of course, no child learns tennis on an 80 per cent court, and no local players hire it…

And this is the bloke who will oversee the “decarbonisation” of the Australian economy. Not credible, is it?


How they’d have jeered three years ago

Andrew Bolt – Thursday, May 26, 11 (05:34 am)


Add this to the “Imagine if George Bush had done this” file. Here"s how President Barack Obama inscribed the guest book of Westminster Abbey this week, and not three years ago,

And had Bush promptly cocked up this toast as well, would we ever have heard the end of all the sneers at his stupidity?


Greens hint they’ll go low

Andrew Bolt – Wednesday, May 25, 11 (05:36 pm)

So Julia Gillard will get her tax, probably as low as she desperately needs, but only if she agrees to the very same kind of “direct action” spendathons that she rightly condemns the Liberals for promising:

THE GREENS have backed away from their hardline position on a high starting price for the carbon tax, conceding they won’t get the price they want in negotiations with Labor.

As the multi-party climate change commission prepares to meet over the weekend to hammer out a deal, Greens leader Bob Brown has conceded his party will accept a lower starting price for the tax than it believes necessary to ensure a start to the transition from coal to gas and renewable energy…

“I’ve had talks with big fossil fuel-involved corporations and they think about $40 is about the price that’s required if you’re going to get a transition from coal to gas and onwards towards renewables. But we’re looking at a package here of measures to get us in that direction. It isn’t just a price that counts,” Senator Brown said.

This compromise may possibly hurt the Greens, who may be blamed by conservative voters for giving us an unpopular tax, and blamed by the Left for agreeing to make it ineffectual, too - while Labor voters may conclude there’s no product differentiation now to tempt them into voting Green instead. The fate of the Democrats after compromising on John Howard’s GST is a warning.


Our UN guards look more like jailers

Andrew Bolt – Wednesday, May 25, 11 (12:02 pm)

The United Nations guards our human rights by appointing as our judges nations that are without them:

This year’s election for the U.N. Human Rights Council has, once again, produced a body that has fewer “free” countries – 21 of a total of 47 – and has more than one-third of the seats held by members of the Islamic bloc.

Among the 15 countries to win seats on the Geneva-based HRC on Friday was Congo, which joins 11 other countries ranked “not free” by the democracy advocacy group, Freedom House, based on an annual assessment of political freedoms and civil liberties…

Despite the requirement that governments take into account candidates’ human rights records, the General Assembly – voting under secret ballot – has ushered onto the council a total of 19 “not free” countries, some more than once.

In most cases, they obtained votes well in excess of the 97 required in the 192-member General Assembly.

The 19, along with the number of votes they scored, are: China (won two elections, with vote counts of 146 and 167), Russia (137, 146), Cuba (135, 163), Saudi Arabia (126, 154), Libya (155), Egypt (168), Pakistan (149, 114), Algeria (168), Tunisia (171), Mauritania (167), Bahrain (172), Qatar (170, 177), Jordan (178), Angola (172, 170), Cameroon (171, 142), Gabon (178), Kyrgyzstan (174), Azerbaijan (103) and newcomer Congo (176).

(Thanks to reader Bernie Slattery.)


And whale meat is a renewable resource, too

Andrew Bolt – Wednesday, May 25, 11 (11:57 am)

Matt Ridley asks - how renewable is renewable?

Last week the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a thousand-page report on the future of renewable energy, which it defined as solar, hydro, wind, tidal, wave, geothermal and biomass. These energy sources, said the IPCC, generate about 13.8% of our energy and, if encouraged to grow, could eventually displace most fossil fuel use.

It turns out that the great majority of this energy, 10.2% out of the 13.8% share, comes from biomass, mainly wood (often transformed into charcoal) and dung. Most of the rest is hydro; less than 0.5% of the world’s energy comes from wind, tide, wave, solar and geothermal put together. Wood and dung are indeed renewable, in the sense that they reappear as fast as you use them. Or do they? It depends on how fast you use them…

You may think I’m splitting hairs. Iron ore for making steel is unlikely to run out any time soon. True, but you can say the same about fossil fuels. The hydrocarbons in the earth’s crust amount to more than 500,000 exajoules of energy… The whole planet uses about 500 exajoules a year, so there may be a millennium’s worth of hydrocarbons left at current rates.

Contrast that with blue whales, cod and passenger pigeons, all of which plainly renew themselves by breeding. But exploiting them caused their populations to collapse or disappear in just a few short decades. It’s a startling fact that such “renewable” resources keep running short, while no non-renewable resource has yet run out: not oil, gold, uranium or phosphate.

(Thanks to reader Greg.)

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